How did the second worst NBA team beat the best team on its own floor? You could point out that the Bulls were missing its two best players (Luol Deng and Derrick Rose), but the Wizards were also missing two of their best players (Nene and Trevor Booker) and a host of others (Roger Mason, Andray Blatche, Rashard Lewis.)
To make matters worse, the guards who have been getting burn recently (John Wall, Jordan Crawford, Cartier Martin, and Shelvin Mack) combined to shoot 11-45…that’s over half of the Wizards’ 89 FGA on the game. Only one of those eleven FGM was a 3-pointer, and the Wiz were just 4-18 from beyond the arc on the night. Perimeter play didn’t explain the Wizards’ win, even on a night when the Bulls were missing Rose and an all-world wing defender in Deng.
The real answer lies in the strangest of places–the Wizard big men outplaying the Bulls big men, and Kevin Seraphin being the highlight. The Wiz are the team with the banged up front court, missing Nene, Booker, Lewis, and Blatche. And the healthy Bulls front court of Boozer, Noah, Gibson, Asik make the Bulls the one of the best rebounding teams in the league. But Seraphin, Vesely, Singleton, and Cook gave them the business.
Seraphin, who was on his A-game (21 and 13), played 43 minutes of hard and excellent basketball. Sure, a couple of those eight offensive rebounds fell into his lap, but he finished them after securing them. He scored all sorts of shots–mainly his go-to jump-hook–and set a tone on defense by blocking five (!) shots. The best part about those blocks? Seraphin held his ground and played sound defense en route to his swats, unlike Javale in his days as a Wizard.
Although Seraphin deserves 1000s of words and dollars in praise of his performance (and he’ll get them), it would be impossible for there to be one reason behind such a monumental victory (see what I did there, Ted?). What else aided the Wiz?
Shelvin Mack and Wall each had a single turnover, with Mack being a competent floor-general and Wall playing with excellent energy throughout. Mo Evans scored efficiently and hit clutch shots (14 pts, 8 shots). Vesely displayed his typical active self, and last night, as it sometimes does, that activity level translated into productive basketball. James Singleton continued to prove why he deserves and NBA roster spot, displaying athleticism, hustle, toughness, and an outside jumper (2 blk, 2 stl, 0 TOV). Brian Cook was strangely competent in his limited time, taking only four shots (all 3’s), and making two. It also helped that Kyle Korver missed all of this threes. Lastly, it must be mentioned that, in another strange turn of events, the Bulls were careless with the ball relative to the Wizards.
The Wizards have now beaten the Thunder and the Bulls this season. Only the Heat, Blazers, Rockets, Hawks, Grizzlies, Pacers can say the same, which is actually a surprising number of teams. Perhaps the Wiz can best the Heat in one of their two remaining games? Until then, Wiz fans should savor last night’s win.
What’s your favorite moment or win from the Wizards this season? Comment on the article or email us at AGRbasketball (at) gmail (dot) com. Don’t forget to follow @AGRbasketball on Twitter and to like us on Facebook.